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Effectiveness of 20 years of conservation investments in protecting orangutans

Effectiveness of 20 years of conservation investments in protecting orangutans

Santika, Truly ORCID: 0000-0002-3125-9467, Sherman, Julie, Voigt, Maria, Ancrenaz, Marc, Wich, Serge A., Wilson, Kerrie A., Possingham, Hugh, Massingham, Emily, Seaman, Dave J.I., Ashbury, Alison M., Azvi, Taufiq S., Banes, Graham L., Barrow, Elizabeth J., Burslem, David F.R.P., Delgado, Robert A., Erman, Andi, Fredriksson, Gabriella, Goossens, Benoit, Houghton, Max, Indrawan, Tito P., Jaya, Ricko L., Kanamori, Tomoko, Knott, Cheryl D., Leiman, Ashley, Liswanto, Darmawan, Mach, Martin, Marshall, Andrew J., Martin, Julien G.A., Midora, Lelyana, Miller, Adam, Milne, Sol, Morgans, Courtney, Nardiyono, Nardiyono, Perwitasari-Farajallah, Dyah, Priatna, Dolly, Risch, Robert, Riyadi, Galuh M., Russon, Anne, Sembiring, Juhardi, Setiawan, Endro, Sidiq, Mohammad, Simon, Donna, Spehar, Stephanie, Struebig, Matthew J., Sumardi, Ibrahim, Tjiu, Albertus, Wahyudi, Rizki, Yanuar, Achmad and Meijaard, Erik (2022) Effectiveness of 20 years of conservation investments in protecting orangutans. Current Biology, 32 (8). pp. 1754-1763. ISSN 0960-9822 (Print), 1879-0445 (Online) (doi:

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Conservation strategies are rarely systematically evaluated, which reduces transparency, hinders the cost-effective deployment of resources, and hides what works best in different contexts. Using data on the iconic and critically endangered orangutan (Pongo spp.), we developed a novel spatiotemporal framework for evaluating conservation investments. We show that around USD 1 billion was invested between 2000 and 2019 into orangutan conservation by governments, non-governmental organizations, companies and communities. Broken down by allocation to different conservation strategies, we find that habitat protection, patrolling and public outreach had the greatest return-on-investment for maintaining orangutan populations. Given variability in threats, land-use opportunity costs, and baseline remunerations in different regions, there were differential benefits-per-dollar invested across conservation activities and regions. We show that, while challenging from a data and analysis perspective, it is possible to fully understand the relationships between conservation investments and outcomes, and the external factors that influence these outcomes. Such analyses can provide improved guidance towards more effective biodiversity conservation. Insights into the spatiotemporal interplays between the costs and benefits driving effectiveness can inform decisions about the most suitable orangutan conservation strategies for halting population declines. While our study focuses on the three extant orangutan species of Sumatra and Borneo, our findings have broad application for evidence-based conservation science and practice worldwide.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: biodiversity; conservation finance; evidence-based conservation; great apes; impact assessment; Indonesia; Malaysia; orangutan; pongo; tropical forest
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD61 Risk Management
S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2023 01:38

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